Sometimes trapping is overlooked as a way to bring home tasty meat, along with the fur. The beaver trapping season ends tomorrow in our part of NYS, but there is still time in other regions. Though there is not a lot of meat on a beaver, the legs and the backstraps will yield some very red, slightly sweet meat. Be careful not to puncture any glands and trim the fat. This classic French recipe for beef works really well with red, wild game meat, such as beaver or bear.
- 2 pounds cleaned, boneless beaver meat, cut into 1”cubes (any red meat works)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5-6 ounces bacon or diced salt-back, lardons, or pancetta
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 whole carrots, sliced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of dry red wine
- 2 cups of beef stock
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 tsp. dried thyme or 1 large sprig of fresh thyme
- 8 ounces brown mushrooms, thickly sliced (about 4 cups)
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
- Season meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid, cook bacon or lardons over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon/lardons are browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve fat in pot.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add the beaver meat to the hot bacon fat and brown well on all sides. You only want a single layer of meat in the bottom of the pans, so this might need to be done in two batches. Transfer meat pieces to a plate as they brown.
- Reduce heat, if necessary, to prevent burning. Stir in onion, carrot, and mushroom. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in garlic, and tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in flour, cook for 1 minute, slowly add wine, bay leaf and thyme, scraping up brown bits at bottom of pot. Stir in the beef stock. Add browned meat. Crumble the bacon and add back to pot, cover and transfer to oven. Let cook until meat is very tender, about 2 hours, stirring halfway through.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste preference. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with egg noodles or mashed potatoes or crusty bread. (a hearty glass of red wine goes well with this dish).
note: This can also be cooked in a slow cooker. At step 5. add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook 8-10 hours on low.